Seeing Quality

Cameras and readable ID marks are helping manufacturers improve their products so that recalls can be minimized.

E-Class Changes More Than Skin Deep

Although Mercedes-Benz had to elevate its game as regards the exterior of the ’07 E-Class, which mostly takes the form of slight adjustments, not wholesale changes (e.g., the grille is 3-cm larger and has a more-tapered V-shape), the real story of the car is found under the hood, particularly in the guises of the E63 AMG and E320 BLUETEC versions.The team at AMG—Mercedes’ performance division—decided the revised E-Class would be the perfect platform for them to go all out and devise the first AMG-only engine: A naturally-aspirated 507-hp, 6.3-liter V-8.

BMW's 2007 3 Series Coupe


Organized Disorganization

How should companies be structured in order to deal with the on-going transformations? Maybe like a starfish—not the shape, but the organism.

Workstation Envy

Look at the latest crop of workstations. They're fast, inexpensive, quiet, and built for expansion.

Tinkering With An Icon: The '07 Jeep Wrangler

It has a fresher design, contemporary engineering, and is being built with a new supplier partnership. Yet for all that, the fundamentals of what makes the Wrangler a Wrangler remain.

Engineering The MDX: A Daily Driver Tuned at the Nürburgring

John Mendel, senior vice president, Automotive Operations, American Honda, describes Acura as "the world's first Asian luxury brand." The division was established in the U.S. in 1986. Arguably it is working to become the "world's first Asian luxury performance brand." And what's all the more remarkable is that it is working to accomplish this, in large part, with an SUV. Yes, an SUV.

Around The eCORNER

Siemens VDO integrates the drive, steering, braking, and suspension functions into wheel modules for greater efficiency and safety.

SATURN: Faster and Better

Having been starved for good product for far too long, this division of General Motors is finally getting the kind of design and engineering that can make it a real contender, not the "coulda been" that has been its plight for the past several years.

Cadillac Ups Craftsmanship

Jim Taylor, Cadillac general manager, references a quote from Henry Leland, chief engineer of Cadillac in 1904, as related to Cadillac then—and now: “Craftsmanship a law, accuracy a creed.” While that may not have been the case for many years between then and now, Taylor says that in addition to the continued efforts to make the division’s products exhibit “dramatic design” and “serious performance,” they’re moving toward increased craftsmanship and attention to detail, finesse in the design and construction of the cars and trucks.Taylor is echoed by John Howell, Cadillac product director, who says that “It’s time to step up even further in terms of quality and luxury,” and that doing so is an effort that includes a strong cooperation between design and engineering.One of the things they are doing to realize this in product is proliferate their learnings from low-volume products to their more mainstream offerings.


GM + H2 = U-235

There’s an “n”-word General Motors wants the world to embrace as it continues on its path towards the hydrogen-based economy of the future.

Give ‘em Something To Talk About

An idea like the following should be enough to convince anyone that Seth Godin is a particularly astute observer of what’s what and what isn’t:“The folks who invented the Mini (or the Hummer, for that matter) didn’t benchmark their way to the cutting edge.

Suzuki AWD Thinks Small

It wasn’t so long ago that if a designer penned a hatchback she’d know that it was unlikely to ever see clay, to say nothing of sheetmetal.

Dow Claims Olefin 'Breakthrough'

The Dow Chemical Company (www.dow.com) is calling a new olefin elastomers it has developed a “breakthrough.” Called INFUSE Olefin Block Copolymers (OBCs), they’re said to provide performance and properties beyond current olefin elastomers, including high-temperature performance, abrasion resistance, elasticity and compression set properties at room and elevated temperatures, and fast setup in processing for reduced cycle times.

Preview: 2007 Mini

Despite what you might think form a first glance, the 2007 Mini shares very little with its immediate predecessor.

Just Say 'No'

In a classic bit of movie dialog, Lauren Bacall’s character in To Have and Have Not says to one played by Bogart, “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve?

Stamping Explained—Seriously

We’re not going to pretend that we’ve read Yanwu Xu’s Modern Formability: Measurement, Analysis and Applications.

Green (and Luxurious and Sporty) with Envi

Chrysler’s B-segment concept—the Dodge Hornet—debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The Future Isn’t What It Was Claimed to Be

Remember how before the introduction of the Segway HT, when it was still code-named “Ginger,” it was rumored to be “bigger than the Internet”? Evidently, it wasn’t.

Talking to Designers: Dodge Challenger

“We had to do some tricks to capture and create the illusion of certain things, like where the windshield cuts down on the LX—the dash-to-axle—is really short.

Talking to Designers: Dodge Rampage

“My favorite aspect is the functionality of the vehicle.

Better Cutting Through Chemistry

While chemistry and crystallographic control are probably among the last things that anyone would associate with machining cast iron or stainless steel, those two things are fundamental to the DurAtomic coating process developed by Seco Tools Inc. (www.secotools.com; Warren, MI—although the company has been known in the U.S. as Carboloy, it will fully transition to its parent company’s name by January 1, 2007.

Not Doing What You've Always Done

Certainly the title of this book is somewhat upsetting to some people.

GM Finds Diesel Nirvana

At a time when most auto manufacturers are hedging their bets on the future of diesel engines in the U.S. market thanks to cumbersome emission regulations, General Motors is drawing a line in the sand, announcing it plans to introduce a newly developed diesel powertrain in its light-duty full-size pickups sometime after 2009.


Objects of Interest - October 2006


Dudder: No Imagination = No Innovation

If there is one problem facing the auto industry these days it’s this: Transitioning from a rigid, high-volume production mindset to one that profitably can produce small lots while supporting a full vehicle lineup.

Insight: Rapidly Changing Fortunes

If events during the last few months have proven anything, they have shown that there is no such thing as “conven-tional wisdom” about the auto industry.

On Strategy: Six Recommendations for Purchasing Strategy

Increasing demands to cut costs while delivering innovation are putting enormous pressure on automotive purchasing departments.

EuroAuto: Creating a Supercar for the Real World—As a Start

The world is full of wannabe super-cars, overgrown kit cars that make a splash appearance at motor shows full of promise and hype never to be seen again.

Marginal: Engineering Innovation

A few days after Alan Mulally was named president and CEO of Ford Motor, I met a Boeing chief engineer at a social event in Chicago.

Profile: Joe Dehner, Chrysler’s Point Man

Here's how J. Douglas Field, vp of Design and Engineering and Chief Technology Officer of Segway, sees the challenges and opportunities of product development. Know that he spent some time working in auto, so his ideas are not totally on the bleeding edge of development.

Insider: Live Green but Check the Yellow

What a difference a month makes.